I’ve Played the Splatfest World Premiere Demo: Impressions Before My Full Review

In my experience: matchmaking could really use some work.

Slade Watkins Avatar

When Nintendo announced that the Splatfest World Premiere would be happening, I was very excited. I missed out on Splatoon 2’s version of this on account of not owning a Switch at the time, and this time around, I had both a Switch and a beastly internet connection (we’ll come back to that later). It was a match made in heaven! Or so I thought, anyways…

I had a very busy day on Splatfest Day here in The Americas, and I decided to play when I had come home from being out-and-about. I was wiped out, even had to take a nap mid-session, but I still made time to play. Unfortunately, I was plagued with severe connection issues that made it very difficult to enjoy the demo. When I finally did get into some matches, I had some issues with camping and the limited amount of invincibility that comes from respawning didn’t help that. I felt thrown to the wolves, really in a way I hadn’t previously felt before. That’s obviously something that can be tweaked later.

A screenshot from one of the failed matches I had.

Now, about those connection issues… I have extremely good internet – a gigabit fiber connection up and down – and the internet was working completely, 100% fine during the demo. So I can only really pinpoint the issues down to Nintendo’s matchmaking systems and/or their use of peer-to-peer connections. I’m not against these systems in any way, they’re the same from Splatoon 2, they just felt worse in the demo. I’m not entirely sure how to describe it. [In my experience, matchmaking in Splatoon 2 has been bad in the past, but not this bad.]

The few good matches I played were actually great, when it worked. I had the chance to try out three different weapons. I played three “standard” matches (a la previous entries, 4v4) with three different weapons. I first tried out the new Splatana Wiper, then the Splattershot and Splattershot Pro. Unfortunately, in the two and a half hours I spent in the demo, I was only able to successfully queue into four out of five total matches (three Regular, two Tri-Color). So, I spent most of my time with these weapons in the Lobby.

The Crab Tank speaks to me. No, really, it said “Slade, this is for you!” And thus, my favourite new Special was born.

The Lobby itself is really cool, it’s a step up from the previous entries, and the faster Equip menu is absolutely a Plus. I will admit, the Copy Machine you can use is… confusing, and very limited, but still a welcome addition for testing Abilities and, of course, weapons. It feels like the test area just belongs in the Lobby, too, which is hard to explain.

In terms of UI and design, compared to its predecessors, Splatoon 3 takes it to the next level. It feels modern, futuristic, and a joy to navigate (not to mention look at). We couldn’t test matchmaking with friends, due to regional differences between the staff of this site. However, others online have reported success with the Friends system. Regardless, the level of polish on the Design here is something that absolutely deserves attention. The game is fast, beautiful, and incredibly responsive to our eyes.

These 939 seconds in the Lobby were spent just messing around.

While my impressions of the demo are a bit soured due to the issues I experienced, I’m hopeful that the full game will bring more to the table. Similarly to the Nintendo Switch Sports Online Play Test a while back, I’m hopeful the feedback from this Splatfest will result in some tweaking prior to the game’s launch on September 9th. For now, I can only offer my take on this, and I’m giving it a 6/10 on our scoring chart for demonstrative purposes.

Splatoon 3: Splatfest World Premiere (Demo)
  • 4.5/10
    Gameplay – 4.5/10
  • 9/10
    Design – 9/10
  • 9/10
    Writing – 9/10
  • 3.5/10
    Entertainment – 3.5/10

In Summary

Good: Design and Writing are excellent in this demo. Big Man is best man.

Needs some work: Gameplay and Entertainment values left more to be desired due to connection issues that plagued our demo’s copy. Waiting in the Lobby (while it is cool) gets boring after a while.

This is not a full review, just a demonstrative as to how we’d rank our experience with the demo. Please stay tuned for the full Splatoon 3 review coming sometime after the full release of the game (when we can evaluate the game in full.)

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